Article 3 of the apocryphal document stated: “When this law comes into effect, the custody of persons under 20 years of age will be exercised by the state via persons or organizations to which this power has been delegated.” Priests and CIA agents both recruited kids and persuaded parents to “trust us. “They fixed the problem really fast after that,” recalls Eire today. On August 11, 1961, at the age of ten, Yvonne M. Conde left Cuba in one of the world's largest political exoduses of children in history--Operation Pedro Pan. While the boys enjoyed a freedom they had never known in Illinois—Eire calls his years in Bloomington his “Huck Finn years” and fondly remembers exploring the countryside with no fear of the political kidnappings or hassles he worried about at home—their mother tried unsuccessfully to leave Cuba. NPR staff might have discovered a more complex and sinister story – had they looked. The Sisters were Physically and Emotionally Abusive to all of us who had to live there. By Yvonne M. Conde, A volunteer approached a little girl at Miami International Airport My name is Peggy Quintana, and I was in the Queen of heaven Orphange from 1953 to 1965 or 66. J.B. Pritzker gives a coronavirus update, After Twitter outcry, 5 women detail Chris D’Elia’s alleged sexual improprieties. A woman in her 50s sitting next to me, though, sobbed quietly. children to America, unaccompanied, hoping to meet up with them later. side door. five years old. Therefore, one October night in 1960, Radio Swan made its first In late 1965, three years after she sent her children to an unknown fate in the United States, she finally got out after Castro announced his intention to no longer prevent Cubans from leaving the country. “I need some kind of closure in my life.” She wants to show her her five sons and seven grandchildren where she grew up. let them take your children away! “In Cuba, there are no children on the streets, no children out of school, no children without access to health services or culture, and there are no unprotected children without opportunities for development,” said Jose Juan Ortiz, UNICEF representative in Cuba. Because we did create panic about the government, but we also separated lots of kids from their parents.”. country, Excerpt from: The Bay of Pigs and the CIA By psychologically soften up the Cuban people. As a Peter Pan refugee who came to the U.S. alone at age 14, my queries are less sinister and more personal. away from you when they turn five and will keep them until they are 18. Agency plotters designed Peter Pan to run alongside political propaganda and economic strangulation policies. Minimal research would have revealed that Leopoldina and Ramón Grau Alsina, niece and nephew of former Cuban President Ramón Grau San Martín, had confessed to Cuban security officials after being arrested in 1965 to having printed the false law in Havana, circulated it clandestinely and then lied to parents. families. rebroadcast that false "news item" about children being taken away from their The agreement allowed him to sign visa waivers for children 16 or under.” Allen then interviewed several right-of-center Cuban Americans to offer “objective” perspective on the facts surrounding Operation Peter Pan. Operation Peter Pan “was wonderful,” he says. ), “We are a brotherhood,” says Dash, who now lives in Fairfax, Virginia. The Eire boys were now independent teenagers. At right, in her home in Fairfax, Dash, 62, holds the doll her parents gave her as a parting gift. If U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a point to meet with the dissidents throughout the process of normalizing relations with the country, he says, “I’m all in favor.”, Dash is optimistic. “I strongly believe that it’s time to start dialogue,” she says. As he recalled some years later, he entered the State Department by a families and finally cause some of them to oppose the government. We don’t run advertisements. Elise Piazza Weisenbach Instructions for Lesson 1: Cuba at the Crossroads -90 Millas-Eleguá Step 1: Activity 1.1-1.3 Distribute student activity sheets then Unable to find stable work there, her father moved the family to Arlington, Virginia. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. The clergy circulated the phony document among their Cuban upper middle-class flock. The first wave of emigration occurred directly after the revolution, followed by the Freedom Flights from 1965 to 1973. Photograph courtesy Operation Pedro Pan Group Inc. Cuba's 'Peter Pans' Remember Childhood Exodus, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/08/150814-cuba-operation-peter-pan-embassy-reopening-Castro.html. Its main protagonist, who “The overwhelming feeling I had which carried me through all the hard times was that life was so much better here without the Castro regime,” he says. Please, if you have the means, chip in to help us reach our annual fund drive goal. By the time the State Department meetings ended, Monsignor Walsh had Vizcaino flew from Havana to Jamaica, where he got a green card (this was unusual), and then flew to Miami. We don’t take money from big foundations or any government entity. and Operation Peter Pan. Undoubtedly, it would be a most effective “We were under watch all the time,” says Eire. When a physical disability kept his mother from finding work, the boys had to support the family instead. The Cuban flag flies at a Pedro Pan camp in Florida City. Yvonne M. Conde investigates the events and key figures surrounding the exodus, including the roles of the Catholic church and the State Department, and the extent of the CIA's involvement. Bishop’s agents in Cuba spread this rumor, backed by a forged simulation of the supposed law, to members of the professional and propertied classes. Peter Pan was carried out under a religious cloak as "humanitarian assistance" Some families were in fact reunited, though the October Missile Crisis in 1962 ended both Peter Pan and the exit of parents who already had children in the U.S. Some never reunited with their families at all. The forgery “declared that parents would lose control of their kids to the state.”, Veciana recounted how “CIA agents claimed they’d stolen the document from the Cuban government.” This false document “created tremendous panic.” On October 26, 1960, CIA-controlled Swan island radio station, south of Cuba, broadcast breaking “news.” Cuba’s government, the radio asserted, planned to remove children from parents so as to indoctrinate them. The US government will care for them.”. Maybe, if NPR staff thought ironically they would’ve done a more accurate report on Operation Peter Pan. Excerpt from the jacket copy to: Operation Pedro Pan Despite their apparent wealth, Dash says the family fed her and her older sister powdered milk and canned meat supplied by the government. used Cuban kids and parents to further their goal: overthrowing the revolutionary government. Counterpunch published his BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD. Answers are hard to come by. As if to accelerate the exodus, a government vigilante group had set loudspeakers about a block away from our house, blaring a scratchy version of the Internationale, over and over, 24 hours a day, for weeks on end. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Vizcaino, however, sees the reopening as a start. Now, as she dusts off boxes of old photographs and letters, painful memories resurface. After completing 8th grade in June 1961, I had stopped going to school altogether. When the pilot announced we were out of Cuban airspace, the kids cheered. In 1962 Frank Sterling was on a flight from Cuba to the United States on what was to be known later as the Peter Pan Flights. Though begun for the children of Cuban dissidents being targeted by the Castro regime, the program was eventually opened up to cover all Cuban children whose parents wanted them to leave the island. Operation Peter Pan began to take shape in Washington in mid-1960.

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